Chicken and Fresh Fennel Flan

2013-07-26
Chicken and Fresh Fennel Flan 2Chicken and Fresh Fennel Flan 3Chicken and Fresh Fennel Flan 4Chicken and Fresh Fennel Flan 5Chicken and Fresh Fennel Flan 6
  • Yield : 24cm flan
  • Servings : 4 - 8
  • Prep Time : 30m
  • Cook Time : 60m
  • Ready In : 1:30 h

Ingredients

350g chicken – diced

1 head (bulb) of fennel – sliced like an onion

1 head of broccoli (florets only)

1/2 cup peas

2 cloves garlic – crushed/grated

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 dessertspoons plain flour

1 1/2 cups of milk or less (hot or cold)

For the pastry:

2 cups plain flour

100g butter or margarine

salt (optional)

5 dessertspoons cold water (more or less)

22 to 24cm flan or pie dish

Method

To make the dough sift the two cups of flour into a bowl  and add a pinch of salt if used. Then rub pieces of the butter or a spoonful of margarine at a time into the flour  until it is finished resembling bread crumbs. Add up to 5 spoons full of cold water  (more or less) to the mixture and mix in together with a spoon to resemble one piece of dough and knead this lightly without too much handling roughly 2 to 3 minutes and then leave it in a cool place.

While the dough is resting add 2 spoonfuls of the oil in a moderately hot pan then stir fry the chicken pieces with garlic and fennel for approximately 5 to 8 minutes until the fennel softens a little. Season with salt and pepper then remove and let cool.

If the same pan is clean  enough then into it add the remaining oil and the dessertspoons of the flour, stir and cook the flour well ensuring it doesn’t burn and keep stirring to cook evenly.  Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes on medium to low heat. Start adding the hot or cold milk and stir vigorously to avoid the sauce going lumpy until all of the milk is used and the sauce is of a thick consistency of your choice, add more or less milk for the right consistency. If the sauce is too lumpy then strain it  and return to the pan or blend it then season it with salt, simmer and then add the broccoli, cover and cook for another minute. Let it cool before assembly.

The cooled sauce and chicken mixtures  can be combined together if preferred or the sauce can be added on top of the chicken mixture when filling the pie. Divide the dough into two leaving one portion slightly bigger than the other. Roll the bigger portion to cover a flan or pie tin till the edges. Fill it with the combined filling or as described. Roll out the second part of the dough to fit the whole dish then crimp the edges to seal with a fork and brush all over with some milk or beaten egg yolk. Place in a moderately hot electric oven of 190 degrees Celsius for approximately 40 to 50 minutes checking after 30 minutes to see that the crust hasn’t burned. A light to medium golden colour of the pie crust would be ideal. Serve cut into slices or accompanied with some salad.

Variations and Suggestions

If you don’t know what to do with fresh fennel other than make a salad with it then this simple dish may be the answer when fresh fennel is going as cheap as .99c a bulb/head. This healthy dish is fit to feed our young children because you know what’s inside it and it can be varied with vegetables that your children may like e.g. this was made especially for Arlene, Raoul and Zara because I know they love, chicken, broccoli, peas and creamy sauce.

A flan is shallower than a pie dish. Dishes made in a flan dish can be sweet or savoury. This recipe is great cold in a lunch box as Arlene and Raoul took for their school lunches. The milk temperature when adding to the flour mix (rough) can be hot or cold but hot may be better for a beginner as it would be easily combined when stirring to incorperate the milk with the flour during cooking. The pastry crust for this dish can be thick or thin.  If needing it thick then make the dough in double the quantity. Egg yolks can be added instead of water when combining the pastry to give it a lighter pastry, similar to what you would do when making pastry for sweets. A head of broccoli can be large or small and use onions or leeks instead of fennel. In some parts of the world fennel will only be known as the spice, fennel seed whole or ground. I too only became aware of fresh fennel as in this dish when I moved from the East to live in the West. Chicken breast can be used instead of thighs then stir fry it for 5 minutes, I prefer chicken thighs without fat for most of my recipes.

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